MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Students, teachers and a Tampa Bay area family are mourning the loss of 30-year-old Richard Parrott, who died after contracting coronavirus. Parrott’s family is now speaking out about their son and his weeks-long battle against the virus.
Diagnosed with COVID in February, Parrott’s parents said their 30-year-old son spent the last month of his life sedated at Largo Medical Center before passing away on Thursday.
“These are his coworkers at school,” Richard’s father, Michael Parrott, said while proudly looking at a poster made for his son.
According to the Manatee County school district, Richard was the computer lab manager at Sugg Middle School for the past 10 years.
“Richard would light up a room as soon as he stepped in. He had an infectious smile. He loved everybody. I don’t think I ever saw him mad or scowl or be indifferent to anybody,” Michael said, recalling his youngest son.
Parrott died from coronavirus on Thursday.
“The disease doesn’t care who it takes. Children, adults, so many people,” Michael said.
A district spokesman said they’re extremely saddened by the loss, and their prayers are with his family, loved ones and the entire Sugg Middle School community.
The spokesman added that they have closely followed Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as Florida Department of Health guidelines through the school year.
8 On Your Side asked if any decisions have been made yet about COVID protocols for the next school year. The spokesman said the school board will make those decisions closer to the new school year.
Parrot’s father tells 8 On Your Side his son is not the first family member to die of COVID-19. Michael Parrot’s mother-in-law Angela Theobold died in December at the age of 93 after contracting COVID.
“Losing both, especially for my wife with it being her mom, it’s been very very difficult,” Parrott said.
Even with vaccinations rolling out and hope on the horizon, the Parrott family is urging everyone to continue taking COVID seriously.
“Doctors still only practice medicine. They haven’t perfected it. Until then we have to do our part too,” Parrott said.
The Parrott family has a memorial service planned for Richard Parrott on May 8.